Barnes and Noble surprised the e-paper industry, by releasing their Nook Glowlight 4 at the beginning of December. This new e-reader has a number of key selling points. It has a high resolution display and is using a quad-core processor, which should keep things speedy. It also features redesigned manual page turn buttons, which curl towards the back. They are both on the right and left side, so it appears towards both right and lefthanded users.
The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight 4 features a 6 inch E INK Carta HD display (I am confirming with B&N if it using an E INK Carta 1200 display panel) with a resolution of 1072×1404 and 300 PPI. The screen is not flush with the bezel and instead has a sunken screen. I always like this type of design, because the screens tend to look more crisp. This is because most e-readers use a glass based display, which reflects light. The e-reader is jet black on the front and the sides, it feels lightweight and easy to hold.
There are series of white and amber LED lights, so you can control the front-lit display and color temperature system. This will be customized with a two slider bars in the settings menu. There are physical page turn buttons on both sides of the screen, and they curl inwards, towards the back. At the bottom of the unit, is the home button, this is denoted by the N. If you press it, you will go back to the home screen.
Underneath the hood is an Allwinner B300 quadcore 1.5 GHZ CPU processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. You will be able to charge the reader with a USB-C cable, this is the first time B&N has ever employed a modern port on any of their E INK devices. It has Bluetooth 5.1 and WIFI to connect to the online bookstore, to purchase and download ebooks. The Nook has the ability to sideload in your own personal collection of digital content. It officially supports EPUB and PDF, you can also buy ebooks from other bookstores in these two formats and load them in via Adobe Digital Editions, since both formats handle digital rights management (DRM.) You can also borrow books from the public library with Overdrive, you would download them from the website and then sideload them with ADE. You should get around four weeks of battery life, thanks to the 1400 mAh battery.
The retail packaging looks really nice and clean. It has an all-white color scheme with a huge picture of the Nook Glowlight 4 on the box and on the sides, there is the Nook brand, in lettering and also a link to the Barnes and Noble website. On the back of the box is a slanted image of the Nook and some of the things the package includes, such as USB-C cable, Quick Start Guide and it has a built-in anti-glare screen protector. I think Barnes and Noble puts a greater emphasis on package art, because its sold in over 600 bookstores, where millions of people will see it.
When you open the box, the first thing that greets you is the Nook. Our review sample did not have any anti-static packaging, but your experience might vary. The quick start guide is a single page. It basically just lets you know where the power button on the top is, the two page-turn buttons and if you hold down the home button down for two seconds it will give you options to control the lighting system and a single tap will take you to the library. It also lets you know about the USB-C port, where you can charge your device and also use it to transfer data from your MAC or PC.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.